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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 

 

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ATxSG, 2: Post-event Official Press Release

ATxSG, 2: Post-event Official Press Release Twelve days after the conclusion of Asia Tech x Singapore, which ended on 03 June, there came a press release by email. It is reproduced here, with minimal editing. As Singapore’s largest technology event since the reopening of its borders, ATxSG brought together 16,600 hybrid (live and online) attendees from 93 countries and regions and 26,000 event visits (this includes repeat visitors). The Singapore Expo, located near the Changi airport ...

Medium Spicy, Review: Only medium, not spicy

Medium Spicy, Review: Only medium, not spicy This had to be a new take on love. In its promotion, the makers of the film Medium Spicy (in Marathi language) quoted from William Shakespeare’s all-time love classic, Romeo and Juliet, “Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake – it is everything except what it is!” – Act 1 Scene 1. The movie begins with a reunion party of former catering college students, where liquor ...

Bhirkit, Review: Two deaths, one funeral, one election and three greedy inheritors

Bhirkit, Review: Two deaths, one funeral, one election and three greedy inheritors Bhirkit (Marathi for ‘greed’, an approximate translation), has its heart in the right place. It deals with a subject with which millions of Indians will identify, both city-dwellers and villagers. The team gets the setting, the casting and the milieu right. The emotions are palpable and real. And yet, the film fails to knit all these elements together into a tight narrative. Inspired by his own memo...

ATxSG 2022, 01: Covid effects result in lower participation, media gets the axe

ATxSG 2022, 01: Covid effects result in lower participation, media gets the axe It was where it began, for me. The location this year was neither the top-of-the-line Marina Bay Sands Exhibition Centre nor the centrally located Suntec City. AsiaTechxSingapore (ATxSG), the new avatar of CommunicAsia, moved back to Singapore Expo, where I had first visited it, some 25 years ago. Though a standard exhibition and conference venue, it just cannot compare with Marina Bay Sands. As an add-on, rooms i...

Trailer launch of Om, The Battle Within: One man, three wars

Trailer launch of Om, The Battle Within: One man, three wars Choreographer-director Ahmed Khan, who is adept at directing action as well, takes on the twin roles of co-producer and action designer, in the upcoming movie Om: The Battle Within, the trailer of which was released yesterday at the Juhu PVR multiplex. Present on the occasion were Khan himself, his better half Shaira Khan (co-producer), Shariq Patel (of Zee Studios, which is a co-producer as well as the worldwide distributor of the ...

Spring. Seeing Hong Kong again: Review by Siraj Syed

Spring. Seeing Hong Kong again: Review by Siraj Syed How do you define a city? Or, rather, how do you re-define a city, after two years of a pandemic? Covid had varying casualties across the world, and Hong Konghad its share. The 5th wave of the deadly virus brought with it 20,082 new cases, while the total number of confirmed infections exceeded one million. That is a huge number, considering the city’s population of about 7 million. But while the severe impact of the disease meant a t...

aNEk, Review: Many a dull moment

aNEk, Review: Many a dull moment Many, several or various are the one-word translations of the title. The reference is to the various cultural and ethnic identities that inhabit India. This is popularly called ‘unity in diversity’. Under British rule, India consisted of hundreds of little ‘kingdoms’, most of which joined the Indian Union, when the British granted Independence. Collaterally, another nation, Pakistan, was carved out of India, and came into being a day be...

Haemolymph-The Invisible Blood, Review: Mumbai Police’s worst kept secret

Haemolymph-The Invisible Blood, Review: Mumbai Police’s worst kept secret Some real-life stories have been turned into good films, some have not. Haemolymph belongs to the latter category. Had we not seen 500+ Hindustani films about police excesses and third degree torture, Haemolymph (Oxford definition: a fluid equivalent to blood in most invertebrates, occupying the haemocoel) would have had some novelty. As it transpires, the real-life story of a man falsely accused of the 2006 Mumba...

Adrushya, Review: Invisible man meets blind twins

Adrushya, Review: Invisible man meets blind twins In the last two decades, Marathi films have thrown-up some real gems. They have also not fought shy of experimenting with both form and content. We have been treated to some films that were rooted deeply in Marathi culture and ethos, while there were others with more universal themes. Non-Marathi speaking producers, directors and writers have made their way towards Marathi filmdom, with varying degrees of success. Directed and co-written by a ...

Dhaakad, Review: Kan-gana Ran-aut-do Charlize Theron?

Dhaakad, Review: Kan-gana Ran-aut-do Charlize Theron? Whenever director Razneesh ‘Razy’ Ghai shouted action on the sets of this film, he must have meant either of two things: A. Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal and a battalion of cronies get at each other, either with arms and ammunition, or fists, kicks and ambition. B: Some version of a lullaby is sung by someone, from at least four characters. There is little else happening. So, what? Is something more needed? Yes, surely! But wher...

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Review: Witch ghost will be the soul survivor?

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Review: Witch ghost will be the soul survivor? Alternately calling itself a horror story and a humorous tale, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (Labyrinth, Maze) does raise a few laughs. The horror, however, fails to strike terror. Songs, literally thrust into the film and one of them relegated to the end credit titles, are catchy, but they are either mushy or foot-tapping, neither kind blending with the theme. There is indeed a labyrinth of explanations for some of the spooky goings on in...

Trailer success meet and song launch of Major: Lookout, big fish, here comes the goldfish

Trailer success meet and song launch of Major: Lookout, big fish, here comes the goldfish Three big, real BIG pictures are on the verge of release, simultaneously. Two are from the South, and one from Mumbai. Anybody who has been following release schedules will know that these three are Prithviraj from Yash Raj Films, KamalHaasan’s Vikram and a major film from Hyderabad, called, Major. I wonder whether the other two have been shown to anybody except the most selected of selective audie...

Trailer launch of Nikamma: Useful insights into the making of a ‘Useless’ (Nikamma) film

Trailer launch of Nikamma: Useful insights into the making of a ‘Useless’ (Nikamma) film Sony Pictures International Productions have put their faith in producer-director Sabbir Khan and a relatively new hero, an absolutely new heroine and a veteran who made her debut 30 years ago to deliver a vehicle that goes by the moniker of Nikamma. Translated, it means Useless. Abhimanyu, who has already acted in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota and Meenakshi Sundareshwar, is the son of Himalaya Dassa...

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2-Song launch at Imagicaa: How far will you go to watch a film song?

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2-Song launch at Imagicaa: How far will you go to watch a film song? Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is the second part of the franchise, the title of which means Maze or Labyrinth. Imagicaa is an amusement park situated at Khopoli, some 80 kms from Mumbai. The invitation from the Public Relations was tempting: 1.00 pm - Media assemble time at T-Series office, Andheri West   2:00 PM - Departure For Imagicaa, with Media   - Media to be segregated in 2 buses   5:00 PM - ...

Dhaakad trailer launch: Kangana Ranaut takes on the enemy, this time in the 21st century

Dhaakad trailer launch: Kangana Ranaut takes on the enemy, this time in the 21st century After the period piece about a freedom fighter, Manikarnika, Kangana Ranaut doing an action film should not come as any surprise. Dhaakad (a forceful person to contend with; formidable) brings you a few centuries forward and places the action in a modern-day setting, with hi-octane action of the James Bond ilk. The trailer was screened recently for the media at the high-profile PVR Phoenix Mall auditorium...

Sounds of The Kashmir Files: “Pray for all the oppressed people in the world”

Sounds of The Kashmir Files: “Pray for all the oppressed people in the world” Royal Opera House was a surprising choice for the event. Once a landmark for big-budget film releases, it remained shut for about two decades, before it was revived, with plays and other events being held there, but no film shows. Makers of the film The Kashmir Files decided to kill two birds with one stone: reinforce their theme of oppression, persecution, brutal murders and more of Kashmiri Pandits in ...

MIFF returns, with a budget of 4-5 crores; will be organised and held at Films Division

MIFF returns, with a budget of 4-5 crores; will be organised and held at Films Division Biennial since its inception in 1990, the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) of documentaries, short fiction and animation films, will be held this year from 29 May to 04 June at the Films Division (FD)’s premises on Peddar Road (Gopalrao Deshmukh Marg). A total of 300+ films have been selected by the selection committees and the budget of the entire festival is estimated at Rs. 4-5 crore. It ...

After Govinda, Varun Dhawan now launches another Dehati Disco song

After Govinda, Varun Dhawan now launches another Dehati Disco song Ganesh Acharya and Varun Dhawan share a great camaraderie and the duo have always given good hits. In fact, Acharya, who is respectfully addressed as MasterJee, has choreographed more than 50 songs for Varun’s father, editor-director David Dhawan, during the early days of his career. Showing his support and love towards MasterJee, Varun recently paid a visit to The Club, at D.N. Nagar, in North Mumbai, on 11 May, and di...

Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Review: A ban on soap and kisses instead of foeticide

Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Review: A ban on soap and kisses instead of foeticide Even a relatively small budget film from Yash Raj Films (YRF), with only two known names to tout, succeeds to a large extent in highlighting the hideous Indian social practice, seen predominantly, in a few states, of killing/aborting the girl child. Since marriage involves a large sum as dowry, which is given by the girl’s family to the boy’s family, the birth of a girl child is considered the genesis of a m...

Three trailers of Prithviraj: On stage, on screen and off-screen

Three trailers of Prithviraj: On stage, on screen and off-screen This is what the invitation, received on Friday, 06 May 2022, by WhatsApp, from YashRaj Films read: “Hello, Yash Raj Films cordially invites you to the trailer launch of their first historical film - based on the life of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan starring superstar Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chhillar and directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi (Padma Shri). Date: 9th May 2022- Monday Time: 10.30am Venue: YRF Studios, Sta...

Village Council ‘Panchayat’ to have second session on Amazon Prime Video from 20 May

Village Council ‘Panchayat’ to have second session on Amazon Prime Video from 20 May One of the most loved web series, Panchayat, is all set to return on your small screen for its Season 2. Amazon Prime Video launched its long trailer at a packed media gathering at the swanky J.W. Marriott Hotel, Juhu, Mumbai, on May 09.  The village comedy-drama is based on the premise of a city man migrating to a village and the situations he faces there, which are poles apart from city iss...

Wonder-dancer AJ stakes claim as India’s answer to MJ

Wonder-dancer AJ stakes claim as India’s answer to MJ Amit Jadav, aka AJ, a Mumbai prodigy, is a singer-dancer who can leave you wonder-struck with moves that are leaves right out of Michael Jackson (MJ)’s work-book, including the moonwalk and spin. At the performance on 07 May at the Birla Matushri Sabhagar, South Mumbai’s prestigious hall, a packed auditorium found their jaws dropping when he wowed them with act after act, syncing hundreds of moves with video-projection of...

RIFF 08, 2022, 16: Awards presented at the closing ceremony

RIFF 08, 2022, 16: Awards presented at the closing ceremony Special Awards – [7] [01] RIFF 2022 --- LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION IN INDIAN CINEMA: N CHANDRA (INDIAN FILM WRITER, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER) [02] RIFF 2022 --- LEGENDARY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE AND CONTRIBUTION IN INDIAN CINEMA: RANDHIR KAPOOR (INDIAN FILM DIRECTOR, ACTOR & PRODUCER) [03] RIFF 2022 ---- INTERNATIONAL HONORARY AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION IN INDIAN CINEMA & TELEVISION: CHARLES THOMSON (I...

RIFF 08, 2022, 15: Films I saw at the Rajasthan International Film Festival

RIFF 08, 2022, 15: Films I saw at the Rajasthan International Film Festival Princes and Vagabonds, Directed by Fabienne Le Houérou: Brave attempt but low cinematic values make this documentary watchable only for its informative and curiosity factors.   Pilibhit (The Yellow Wall), Directed by Ashutosh Chaturvedi, Pankaj Mavchi: Inspired from true stories, it tells you how the place got it curious name, has a good treatment and powerful performances.   ...

Mere Desh Ki Dharti, Review: Suicide or pesticide, you decide

Mere Desh Ki Dharti, Review: Suicide or pesticide, you decide You get two films for the price of one when you, or if you, go to see Mere Desh Ki Dharti. Now, if you happen to arrive a little late, after the opening credits, the first half makes you wonder whether you have been ushered into the wrong auditorium of a multiplex, and the film you are watching is not Mere Desh Ki Dharti. On the other hand, if you arrived on time, you must wonder whether the reels have got mixed-up (what an archaic...

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

India



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